Vocalist April Hall has released her first jazz CD, Fun Out of Life, a 12-track album of classic jazz numbers.
Hall, who has been singing in jazz clubs in Boston and the Northeast, has a strong voice and an easy style that serves her well on the wide-ranging CD.
The album offers up a variety of styles to showcase Hall’s talent. There are ballads and heartbreakers ("You Must Believe in Spring," "Crazy He Calls Me," "I’m a Fool to Want You"), a blues tune ("Boogie Woogie Blues"), and songs for having a good time ("Nevertheless" and "Getting Some Fun Out of Life").
The biggest surprise on the album is the inclusion of Percy Mayfield’s "Please Send Me Someone to Love." It’s a gem of a song. Although it has been covered by other artists, it has not been overdone and remains fresh. Hall does the song justice, turning in a soulful version that works the different registers of her flexible voice. New Orleans saxophonist Amadee Castenell is featured on the song.
The other highlight is Hall's version of "I’ve Got the World on a String," which opens the collection. Her rendition is softer and a touch slower than many of the other recordings of the song, but she still manages to capture the song’s breezy charm.
The Florida native was raised on a mix of gospel, country, R&B, and jazz music, and her versatility shows. Hall, who has written her own music and released her first CD in 2000, has been honing her jazz skills for the last several years, and the payoff comes on the latest release.
Several of Boston’s top musicians join Hall on the album, including Joe Mulholland on piano; Kenny Hadley on drums; Mark Poniatowski on bass; Jon Damian on guitar; and Tom Hall on saxophone.